Shahpour Pouyan Jacob's Ladder Performance
UNTITLED. Miami Beach | December 2 at 6pm



Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at Nautical Twilight [6pm]


at UNTITLED. Miami Beach at Ocean Drive + 12th Street


Presented by Alserkal Avenue, Dubai,
Lawrie Shabibi Gallery,
AKArt Advisory + The Committee


Miami, FL (November 11, 2014)Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, AKArt Advisory, and The Committee, with the support of Alserkal Avenue, Dubai and The Compleat Sculptor, are pleased to present Jacob’s Ladder—a performance by artist Shahpour Pouyan, taking place at 6pm on Tuesday, December 2 on the grounds of UNTITLED. Miami Beach art fair, located at Ocean Drive and 12th Street.

Shahpour Pouyan's performance comments on the recent history of war, the repeated mistakes and errors of judgment therein, and the cataclysmic effects on individuals’ lives. Conjuring the history of evacuation operations, the performance spotlights one of the dire consequences of conflict: that of ‘liberation.’ The hope of rescue and the desperate need for a mythical ‘act of god’ to avoid complete abandonment, are the main tenets of the performance—and of Shahpour Pouyan’s personal experience during the Iran-Iraq War.

The iconic and dramatic images of helicopter evacuation operations worldwide have created a portrait of crisis, and of the contemporary 'saviour.' Seen within the codex of Judeo-Christianity religious imagery, the helicopter both connects the earth and heaven—as the ladder does in Jacob's dream in 
The Bible—and symbolizes Jesus saving humanity by restoring freedom to mankind. Pouyan’s performance focuses on the poetic moment when human salvation and redemption come into play. 

Eternal fear of loneliness, and the mythical desire for salvation, remain relevant in contemporary conflicts amidst its technology and supposed expertise. These themes also overlap with the environs of Miami’s art fair week.
 The controlled nature of the performance—although reassuring—evokes a fear of being alone in an unsafe and chaotic environment, wastefulness, and the ultimate futility of political and intellectual elites.

With degrees in math and p
hysics and a background in philosophy, Pouyan grew up in a military family in Iran: “I read military technology magazines in my father's library, fascinated both by the brutality and mystery of stories of war,” the artist shares. The performance, lasting only several impactful moments, will occur at ‘nautical twilight’—a time which military units often treat with heightened security, and in which everyone assumes a defensive position. 

New works from Pouyan's PTSD series will also be presented by Lawrie Shabibi in booth C06 at UNTITLED. from December 1-7. This installation in the medium of ceramics—an ancient material and technique of artistic production, also commonly prescribed for those struggling to overcome trauma—examines a series of monumental religious domes from around the world. The works present an identical silhouette from all sides of the dome—a unique ancient historical architectural structure. Projecting an almost divine symmetry, the dome has often been used as an ideological expression of power. Selections from the series have been selected for inclusion in the upcoming Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

On Friday, December 5 at 12:30pm, as part of UNTITLED. TALKS [located at the fair's beach terrace], an artist talk—entitled Holding Out For A Hero: Conflict, Hope and Betrayal—about the timeliness/timelessness of Jacob's Ladder, and the link to the artist's PTSD series, will be held with Shahpour Pouyan and William Lawrie, Director of Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai, and former Christie's Head of Contemporary Middle Eastern Art. The conversation will focus on the performance's cinematic overtones, how it encapsulates our shared deep fear of abandonment, and the artist's personal childhood experiences in Iran—which inform his attitude to current crises in the Middle East, and worldwide, such as Ebola.

Jacob's Ladder
Tuesday, December 2 at Nautical Twilight [6pm sharp]
Artist Talk with Shahpour Pouyan + 
William Lawrie 
Friday, December 5 at 12:30pm

Vernissage: Monday, Dec. 1, 6-9pm
Press Preview: Dec. 2, 1-3pm
VIP Preview: Dec. 2, 3-7pm
General Public Hours: Dec. 4-6, 11am-7pm + Dec. 7 11am-4pm

Ocean Drive + 12th Street
[Outside of UNTITLED. Miami Beach]
Artist Talk
UNTITLED. Beach Terrace



About Shahpour Pouyan
Shahpour Pouyan's work is a commentary about power, domination, and possession through the force of culture. Born in Isfahan, Iran, in 1979, Shahpour Pouyan currently lives and works between New York and Tehran. He recently completed an MFA in Integrated Practices and New Forms at Pratt Institute, New York, and has an MFA in Painting from the Tehran University of Art. He previously studied Neoplatonic Philosophy at the Iranian Institute of Philosophy and received a diploma in Math and Physics from Elmieh School, Tehran. Between 2007 and 2009 he taught art history and the history of Persian Architecture at Science and Culture University, Tehran. Pouyan has had numerous solo gallery shows, including shows at Ave Gallery, Tehran (2008), XVA Gallery, Dubai (2009), and Lawrie Shabibi (2011), and has participated in numerous group exhibitions and art fairs around the world. His work has also been included in publications produced both in and out of Iran and is part of many prominent private collections and the permanent collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. He has participated in several international residencies including International Cite Des Arts, Paris, and the Pegasus Art Foundation, Hyderabad, India, and began one at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, in June 2014. 

About Lawrie Shahbibi
Lawrie Shabibi is a contemporary art gallery housed in a 3000 square foot warehouse in Dubai's Alserkal Avenue. The gallery’s programme supports international contemporary artists mainly from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. By holding a regular programme of exhibitions, screenings and talks, publishing catalogues and participating in international art fairs, the gallery engages the wider local and international community. The gallery represents Hamra Abbas, Adel Abidin, Wafaa Bilal, Asad Faulwell, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Taus Makhacheva, Nabil Nahas, Driss Ouadahi, Nathaniel Rackowe, Marwan Sahmarani, Larissa Sansour,Yasam Sasmazer, Shahpour Pouyan and Adeel uz Zafar.

About Alserkal Avenue
Alserkal Avenue is an arts and culture hub within the industrial quarter of Dubai; it currently houses over 20 contemporary art galleries, as well as alternative arts and community spaces. A major expansion is currently underway and is due to launch in 2015. The US$ 14 million-project, supported by the Alserkal family, will triple the size of the Avenue and will create a vibrant arts and culture hub in Dubai. In addition to prominent regional and international galleries, the extension will bring a wide spectrum of creative spaces to life, including a black box theatre, independent cinema, artists’ studios, and outdoor performance venue, the extension will redefine the cultural landscape of Dubai and establish Alserkal Avenue as the ideal space for the exchange of ideas and the development of home-grown cultural and artistic initiatives.

About The Compleat Sculptor
The Compleat Sculptor, Inc. is one of the largest sculpture suppliers in the world. Over the years, TCS has expanded into a variety of industries outside traditional and contemporary sculpture including set design, toy prototyping, movie special effects, museum displays, restoration and renovation, interior design, TV props, and military projects. 

About AKArt
AKArt is an art advisory agency, as well as an independent curatorial platform, who works with art fairs, art galleries, artists, auction houses, collectors, corporations, curators, institutions, luxury brands, museums, organizations, and publishing houses—developing major art initiatives from the ground up, offering private and corporate curation, collection management, and creative consulting on strategy, programming, exhibitions, strategic partnerships, brand development, marketing, public relations, events, and sales.

About The Committee
The Committee, founded in 2012, focuses on producing unique experiences for the arts community. Exploring the constantly blurring line between art, fashion, design, and music, The Committee is dedicated to bringing contrasting individuals or groups together on one platform in order to expand the boundaries within each field. Through events such as artist studio visits or gallery talks, and off-site exhibitions, The Committee’s goal is to make the arts more accessible to New York City’s young professionals and arts enthusiasts.

UNTITLED. is a curated art fair for international galleries and nonprofit art spaces with a focus on emerging and mid-career contemporary art. Now in its third edition, UNTITLED. was founded by Jeff Lawson in partnership with Alan G. Randolph in Miami. UNTITLED. has expanded its curatorial team for 2014, led by artistic director Omar Lopez-Chahoud. Carmen Ferreyra, an independent curator and art fair producer based in Brooklyn, has joined the team as Fair Director of UNTITLED., along with Sue Stoffel, Administrative Director. Situated directly on the beach with natural light and ocean views, UNTITLED. is working with internationally recognized architecture firm K/R, under the direction of John Keenen, to reconstruct the design of its temporary pavilion in order to integrate international galleries and not-for-profit spaces, and a designated space for the fair’s programming. In addition to its roster of international exhibitors, UNTITLED. presents a series of conversations, performances and special events as part of its visitor experience in December 2014.

Gallery Contact  
Asmaa Al Shabibi
Unit 21, Alserkal Avenue
Al-Quoz, Dubai  UAE
T +971 (0)4 346 9906    
F +971 (0)4 346 9902

Media Contacts
Amy Kisch, AKArt Advisory
646 580 6626

Ricky Lee, 
The Committee
917 382 9397

IMAGES Top to Bottom, Left to Right: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Monastery of St Catherine Sinai,12th century, Egypt; Photograph of 22 Gia Long Street by Hubert van Es, during the American evacuation on 29 April, 1975

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